Climate change - Net Zero Nation - draft public engagement strategy: consultation analysis

Analysis of the responses to the public consultation on the climate change - Net Zero Nation: draft public engagement strategy, which sets out our framework for engaging the people of Scotland in the transition to a net zero nation which is prepared for the effects of our changing climate.

Appendix B: Questions 6, 8 & 10: Detailed analysis

Q6. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for communicating on climate change that could be useful for informing our approach?

Two thirds of respondents answered question six. While the question asked explicitly for examples, a range of responses was received; some examples were provided without context, many elaborated on their suggestions, and others made more general comments.

Examples of own work

The most common theme across responses to question six was organisations highlighting examples of their own work. Some examples aligned with the specific themes detailed below; others described their work in general terms. Examples of the latter included: initiatives run by Church of Scotland, Interfaith Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church; Greener Kirkcaldy's desire to share learning from 10 years of communicating climate change; Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre's networks; Paths for All's 'Smarter Choices, Smarter Places' behaviour change programme; and publications from The Landscape Institute and British Conservation Alliance.

Climate Outreach

Mentions of the work of Climate Outreach was the second most prevalent theme. Most listed an organisation or website, with a suggestion that the Scottish Government look at these references, without explanation of their relevance. Others cited their work such as 'Britain Talks Climate'.

Networks and community groups

Another common theme in responses was examples of community groups and networks that have been undertaking this work. A few similar responses highlighted the value of community-led, local approaches. A small number mentioned climate cafés such as Sustaining North Berwick's free events and Aberdeen Climate Action's monthly climate café. Other examples of work by and for communities included Community Energy Scotland's Community Energy Future's programme and community growing projects. Examples of wider networks sharing learning and best practice included the Sustainable Scotland Network and the support they offer to local authorities, Resilient Communities networks and EAUC's dedicated sustainability network for the college sector.

Work undertaken by other organisations

Work by other organisations was mentioned by several respondents. Examples which did not align with the themes below included: Climate Tracker; Royal Scottish Geographical Society; the Climate Ready Ken project; Sustaining Dunbar; the Transition Movement; Edinburgh College Students Association; The Ellen McArthur Foundation and Changeworks' experience with social landlords and tenants to drive behaviour change.

Reference material

Several respondents provided examples of reference material such as books, reports or websites with little or no elaboration on their content or context. Examples of reports and publications included: 'Nudge' by Thaler and Sustein which focuses on behaviour change, a Committee on Climate Change report[20], Stephen Sheppard's paper 'Making Climate Change Visible: A Critical Role for Landscape Professionals' and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Environment and Human Rights child-friendly version of his 2018 report on children's rights and the environment. Websites mentioned more than once included the Common Cause 'values and frames' ( and

Other themes

The majority of themes in response to question six were mentioned by small numbers. These are outlined below.

Some respondents suggested that using trusted advisors or influencers would be good practice. Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough were commonly mentioned; a few mentioned scientists e.g. climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe.

Varied examples of using creative approaches to engage included WOSDEC's[21] 'Our Global Storylines' programme, Creative Carbon Scotland's case studies showing the benefits of artistic collaboration, redevelopment of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the work of Scotland: The Big Picture, and the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.

The potential for digital, email and social media was highlighted. Respondents suggested using email updates and viral online challenges. Examples included Climate Ready Clyde's use of social media and a 'Random Acts of Green' app which has been used in Canada to motivate people to make greener choices.

Citizens Assemblies or Climate Conversations were mentioned by a few respondents. Most provided short statements to the effect that they consider these to be good practice. A small number of examples included a Climate Assembly in Moray and the Scottish Rural Parliament.

A variety of comments were provided about engaging young people. Respondents highlighted the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Young Scot and YouthLink Scotland, and suggested using young ambassadors and influencers. Children in Scotland provided several examples of their engagement projects, for example the Changing Gears project with Cycling Scotland to explore children's views of road safety and active travel, and their Health Inequalities: Participative Research project where 15 peer researchers living in areas of deprivation explored how their neighbourhoods could impact on children and young people's health and wellbeing and contribute to inequalities. A few made general comments around the role of climate education.

Examples of how best to communicate impacts were highlighted. These included a West Sussex case study, examples of how to tell impactful stories and WWF's Fight For Your World campaign. Separate work by the University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh on producing communication guidelines was also noted. A few comments noted the value of powerful pictures or videos, and the principles of communicating effectively.

Resources and toolkits were mentioned. These included Tearfund's work on the Climate Emergency Toolkit, Keep Scotland Beautiful's Climate Emergency Training, Glasgow Science Centre's learning packs, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh's online videos, and Carbon Literacy Training.

Work in other countries was cited by a small number of respondents. This included the Climate 4 Change approach in Australia, cross-governmental approach and communication in Kenya, and a positive comment about Denmark's progress in the area.

A few commented on the value of demonstrating action. They suggested this could be done by, for example, becoming a certified B Corp, having carbon kitemarks, and regulating packaging. As well as highlighting available technologies such as local heat networks, the importance of making these visible was noted, for example giving electric vehicles green number plates.

Approaches to communication and marketing were debated. These included calls for the Scottish Government to learn from hard-hitting campaigns such as drink driving, to replicate the success of COVID-19 communications and messaging, and to continue using broadcast media. One questioned whether there was a need to start from scratch or whether established campaigns could be used. A few highlighted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work which outlines effective communication strategies.

In-person engagement was discussed by a small number. Comments included using climate roadshows, talks to different groups, RWE outlined their visitor centre experience and Paths for All noted their engagement in local projects such as Falkirk Bike Club.

Examples of special events included Scotland's annual Climate week, WWF's Earth Hour, Zero Waste Scotland's Recycle Week and Manchester Science Festival.

Q8. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for enabling participation in decision-making that could be useful for informing our approach?

Three fifths of consultation respondents answered question eight (108/178). As with question six, these responses included detailed suggestions, examples without context, and general comments.

Citizen Assemblies

The most common set of examples in response to question eight was Citizen Assemblies and other deliberative approaches such as citizen panels and juries. Most cited these as a positive form of public engagement. Specific examples included: People's Assemblies in Dundee; Climate Assemblies in Oxford, Newham, Brent and Leicester; and their effective use in Ireland and France.

A few respondents called for publicity and action around the results of the Scottish Climate Assembly, noting the English Assembly suffered from a lack of publicity. Related to this, a small number of responses noted the potential for participatory budgeting.

Youth participation

Examples of encouraging youth participation was another prevalent theme. A range of examples included: the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and its consultations; organisations such as Children in Scotland highlighting their work; Edinburgh and Dumfries and Galloway College noting how they enable students to participate; and East Lothian and Falkirk councils outlining how they engage young people in local decisions. In their submission, YouthLink Scotland provide several examples of how the youth work sector has worked collaboratively with the environment sector, such as their Our Bright Future programme.

Respondents highlighted young people teams or advisory groups formed by organisations, such as: the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland recruiting groups of young advisors; Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Youth Committee; Cairngorms Youth Action Team; and Scotland: the Big Picture's panel of Young Rewilders. 2050 Climate Group called for best practice of having easy to read and accessible versions of a consultation and resource packs for teachers, parents and carers to collect childrens' views.

Enhanced or tailored consultation approaches

Respondents gave several varied examples of ways in which participation could be adapted, tailored or strengthened. Examples of approaches included: Scottish Rural Action's Rural Parliament; the Poverty Truth Commission's model for listening to the voices of those with direct experience of an issue; the process used by the Scottish Government when seeking stakeholders' views on Scotland's Race Equality Framework (2016-2030); and a suggestion to use Highlands and Islands Enterprise's business panel surveys to gain insight from businesses.

Examples or suggestions for improved processes included: use of Commonplace or online platforms, the former having been used by Haringey Council; using place-making tools such as the Place Standard Toolkit; the inclusion of policy experts in participation; calls for the strategy to state how public consultations will be embedded in policy; and calls for public bodies to be supported to integrate climate change into policy consultations.

Work of other organisations

Several respondents cited the work of other people or organisations. Some of the examples where little context was provided or which were not aligned with the themes in this section included: the UN; the Transition Network; Oliver Escobar at University of Edinburgh; CLEVER Cities: Thamesmead; Open Democracy; Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics Action Lab and Cornwall Council's practising of the concept; Architecture and Design Scotland's Place Standard Tool; and SEPA's Walks with Farmers project.

Engagement with local groups

In addition to mentions of local citizen's assemblies, some respondents provided examples of engagement with communities and local groups. These included: locally run climate cafés; work by Perth and Kinross Council, South Ayrshire Council and Carmarthenshire Council to involve residents in community planning; Keep Scotland Beautiful working with Kirriemuir in Angus and Tayvallich in Argyll and Bute to develop Community Climate Action Plans; the REFLEX project in Orkney; East Lothian's Area Partnerships; and Glasgow's Transformational Regeneration Areas. Community Energy Scotland provided a suggested process for engaging communities in their response.

Other less commonly mentioned themes

While some respondents commented on ways to encourage participation, few provided direct examples. As well as a few comments noting the importance of engaging the public, a small number of similar comments called for resources to ensure more people have the skills to facilitate deliberative processes. There were also singular calls to include technological innovation, minority audiences and segments of the social care sector in participation. The two examples cited approaches used in Iceland – the Shadow Government approach and the method of choosing engagement participants randomly from the phone book.

Collaboration between organisations was another theme. Examples included: a Scottish Government Chaired Waste Sector Forum comprising public bodies, the third sector and the CIWM[22]; Citizen's Advice Scotland's partnership with Home Energy Scotland on the annual Big Energy Savings Month campaign; SSEN's work with Citizen's Advice Scotland to develop a business plan; Scottish Deer Management groups; and Nourish Scotland and South of Scotland Enterprise noting their work with local authorities

Some organisations gave examples of their own work which did not align with the themes above. These included: Chiesi's work on behaviour change campaigns in the health arena; Creative Carbon Scotland's case studies around collaboration with artists; Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre's policy forum; Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations' work with European Climate Foundation; and The British Conservation Alliance's consultations for the One Planet Cardiff initiative.

Other themes mentioned by only a few respondents included:

  • References to how Scotland could learn from more inclusive democratic structures in the rest of the UK and globally.
  • Specific examples of co-production by local authorities.
  • Two mentions of the work of Climate Outreach.

Reference material

A small number gave examples of reference material such as books, reports or websites with little or no elaboration on their content. Examples of reports and publications included: the Just Transition Commission's final report, The Aarhus Convention "Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters", "Fostering Sustainable Behaviour: a introduction to community based social marketing" by Doug McKenzie-Mohr, and Paul Hawken's "Drawdown, The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming".

Q10. Are you aware of any practical examples or case studies of good practice for encouraging climate change action that could be useful for informing our approach?

Question ten asked respondents to share examples of good practice for encouraging climate change action. Over three fifths of respondents (110/178) answered question ten. Respondents shared a broad range of examples of case studies and initiatives for encouraging climate change action. The section below lists some key examples described by respondents, grouped in the following categories: local community projects; local authority initiatives; examples in the education sector; and international examples.

Local community projects

The majority of examples described by respondents were local community projects and initiatives based in Scotland. Several respondents referred to a wide range of effective case studies amongst the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN) membership. They also noted that Keep Scotland Beautiful has a selection of case studies of Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) projects available on their website. Other examples of local community projects which encourage action included:

'Climate Action North East Week', run by Climate Action Aberdeen. The event has webinars on a range of issues from hydrogen buses to wildlife gardening.

Blairgowrie HEAT Project, a local project that provides free advice on energy savings and carbon reduction in homes.

Climate Action Fife[23], an example of how community-led network and relationship building across sectors over many years has created the conditions for widespread engagement and participation in climate action across a local authority area.

Eco-congregations across Scotland. One respondent described the eco-group within St. Anne's Episcopal/Methodist church in Dunbar as an excellent example of good practice.

The Bonnie Dundee partnership, which has formalised carbon reduction as one of their key themes of activity, linking in with the Dundee Climate Action Plan. Their activities have included planting over 1,000 trees in Middleton Wood and reducing consumption by reusing materials including pots, tools and seed trays.

The Community Energy Futures programme delivered by Community Energy Scotland, which helps community groups around Scotland learn about the energy transition and develop community energy projects through a series of workshops and subsequent one-to-one support.

Local authority initiatives

A few respondents provided examples of initiatives to encourage action on climate change delivered by local councils in Scotland, for example:

  • East Dunbartonshire Council engaged local high school pupils to run an audit of plastics-use in their Council buildings.
  • South Ayrshire Council has plans to introduce a carbon budget within the council and discover what drives the emissions attributable to service delivery and what they can do to reduce them.
  • Glasgow City Council has introduced a Climate Emergency Implementation Plan.
  • East Lothian Council introduced electric vehicle infrastructure and bike schemes.

Examples in the education sector

Some respondents shared examples of good practice in education. Dumfries and Galloway College noted the college sector has been working to firm targets for climate change and that they must report on these targets via the public bodies climate change duties and in Regional Outcome Agreements. Glasgow Science Centre shared details of their Learning Lab programme, an online learning experience for schools, which supported teachers to engage learners in climate science throughout lockdown.

The John Muir Trust also described various projects in schools and colleges across Scotland, including a collaborative effort between a school in Fife and a local social enterprise to turn five acres of former playing fields near their school into a healthy woodland area. Keep Scotland Beautiful described successful initiatives that they had run within schools.

International examples

Some respondents described ways in which other countries have encouraged climate change action. For example, one noted that in France, new buildings must have solar panels or green roofs, and another described how Sweden has introduced several initiatives to encourage climate change action, including:

  • In Stockholm, old industrial areas have been redeveloped as efficient low-energy housing, and the city has extended its tram routes. In addition, the underground public transport system runs on green electricity, and buses run on renewable fuels.
  • The Swedish island of Gotland has opened the world's first wireless electric road, where electric trucks and buses can charge while driving.
  • In Umeå, near the Arctic Circle, locally engineered electric buses an everyday sight. Using patented fast-charge technology, they can service an entire city without wires.

A few respondents suggested that the implementation of Climate Income in Canada[24] and Switzerland should be studied as an example of good practice.



Back to top